Several mental illnesses, including anxiety, can manifest during development, with onsets in late childhood. Understanding the neurobiological underpinnings of risk for anxiety is of crucial importance for early prevention and intervention approaches. Translational neuroscience offers tools to investigate such mechanisms in human and animal models. The current review describes paradigms derived from neuroscience, such as fear conditioning and extinction and overviews studies that have used these paradigms in animals and humans across development. The review also briefly discusses developmental trajectories of the relevant neural circuits and the emergence of clinical anxiety. Future studies should focus on developmental changes in these paradigms, paying close attention to neurobiological and hormonal changes associated with childhood and adolescence.